PRESS RELEASES 2000 RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 07, 2000
Contact: Lisa Franklin, PG&E National Energy Group (617) 788-3643
EDITORS: Please do not use "Pacific Gas and Electric" or "PG&E" when referring to PG&E Corporation or its National Energy Group. The PG&E National Energy Group is not the same company as Pacific Gas and Electric Company, the utility, and is not regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission. Customers of Pacific Gas and Electric Company do not have to buy products or services from the National Energy Group in order to continue to receive quality regulated services from Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

DOE SELECTS PG&E CORPORATION'S MASSACHUSETTS PLANTS FOR ADVANCED MERCURY EMISSIONS CONTROL TECHNOLOGY TESTING

BOSTON, MA -PG&E Corporation's (NYSE: PCG) National Energy Group (PG&E NEG) has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to participate in the nation's first full-scale mercury emissions pilot program, which will evaluate the use of control technology for coal-burning power plants. The company has made a $600,000 commitment to conduct field testing of mercury control technology at the 750-megawatt Salem Harbor Station in Salem, Massachusetts and the 1,586-megawatt Brayton Point Station in Somerset, Massachusetts. Currently, the nation lacks an effective technology for controlling mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants.

"This project re-affirms our commitment to environmental leadership and to finding new ways to reduce the environmental impact of electricity production," said PG&E National Energy Group Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer for the Northeast Steven A. Wolfgram. "Mercury emissions control has emerged as a significant environmental issue over the past few years. We want to be at the forefront of closing the gap between our goals of controlling mercury emissions and the current lack of knowledge about how to do so."

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must determine whether to regulate mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants by December 15, 2000. However, a 1998 EPA report entitled "Study of Hazardous Air Pollutant Emissions from Electric Utility Steam Generating Units - Final Report to Congress" concluded that no feasible technologies currently available could effectively reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired facilities.

The DOE proposed this joint government-business funded project to offer coal power plant operators better ways to reduce these emissions at much lower costs. According to the DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory, which is spearheading the project, the goal is to develop a cost-effective technology that will allow the industry to reduce annual mercury emissions from power plants by 50 to 70% of current levels.

"Coal-fired power plants play an important role in the nation's fuel diversity, which helps ensure electricity price stability and reliability. Finding a cost-effective and technologically-feasible method of mercury emissions control will improve the environment while also securing the important role that coal-fired power plants play in our nation's electric supply," says Scott Renninger, Project Manager at DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown, West Virginia.

PG&E NEG will work in partnership with the lead contractor ADA-Environmental Solutions, a Colorado-based pollution control technology company, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), and two other generating companies to design and engineer systems to reduce mercury from stack emissions. Energy and Environmental Strategies, a Shrewsbury, Massachusetts-based environmental consulting firm helped prepare the bid and will act as a subcontractor on the project.

The Salem Harbor and Brayton Point stations will use a portable mercury control system developed by ADA-Environmental Solutions to test mercury controls on bituminous coals. The project was selected in the first of two rounds of competitions that the Energy Department began in March 2000. The total project cost will be $6.7 million, and will be paid for by the DOE, PG&E NEG, and the other companies participating in the project.

"We have made great progress in controlling traditional emissions like nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide. Now we face the more difficult challenge of controlling mercury, which is found in miniscule quantities in a large amount of fuel," Wolfgram said. "We are excited about the chance to develop this next generation of emissions control technologies that can be used throughout the industry. We take pride in our continuing effort to produce clean, reliable, and low cost energy."

PG&E NEG is recognized for being a pioneer in advanced environmental control technologies. In 1994, the company was the first in the country to use Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) in a new commercial coal-fired power plant, resulting in a 60% reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions from the average coal plant. This use of SCR has set a standard for all new coal plants, and it is now the most widely recognized technology to meet new regulatory requirements for nitrogen oxide reductions.

PG&E Corporation with 1999 operating revenues of nearly $21 billion and operations in 27 states, markets energy services and products throughout North America through its National Energy Group. The Corporation's National Energy Group has a significant presence in the New England area with ownership in 20 power plants and one of the most active power trading businesses in the region.


 

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